Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 12, pp 3241–3252 | Cite as

The role of emotion arousal in the retrieval practice effect

  • Xi Jia
  • Chuanji Gao
  • Lixia Cui
  • Chunyan GuoEmail author
Research Article


Many studies have shown that practicing retrieval produces better memory retention compared to restudy. Though previous literature has provided valuable insights about the retrieval practice effect, it is still unclear how emotion arousal influences the retrieval practice effect, and whether the effect would be manifested in recollection or familiarity processes. To answer these questions, in the current study, negative and neutral words were used as stimuli and participants were asked to perform a recognition test or restudy the words after initial study. At the end of the experiment, a final recognition test with involving the remember–know paradigm was shown. Behavioral data were collected with EEG recorded throughout the experiment. The behavioral retrieval practice effect was only found for the neutral but not the negative words. Consistently, significant ERP differences between the restudy and retrieval practice conditions were only found for neutral, but not negative items, which was a component from 700 to 900 ms at left-posterior electrode cluster. Moreover, we found that the effects of emotion arousal on the retrieval practice effect were mainly reflected in the recollection process. These findings provide behavioral and neural evidence that emotion arousal can influence the retrieval practice effect.


Retrieval practice effect Emotion arousal Recollection Retrieval mode EEG/ERP 



We thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript.


The present study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31671127) to Chunyan Guo, and was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571143) to Lixia Cui.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

221_2019_5658_MOESM1_ESM.docx (306 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 306 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition, School of PsychologyCapital Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Institute for Mind and BrainUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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